Although playing football is a dream for many US people growing up, many don’t consider what will happen after their dreams come true. After the fame, money and idolization runs out, what happens next? With the average age of an NFL player being just over 26, and many players being contracted straight out of college only for a few years, this can leave a player bewildered and questioning what to do with their lives afterwards. If you’re not a Tom Brady or Matt Ryan, who have earned hundreds of millions of dollars, you’ll need to find a way to make money after your short career.
A study by LinkedIn of previous football NFL players found that of those who listed themselves as ‘entrepreneurs’, 20% ran small businesses. Following close behind were those in sales (18%), 9% were involved in coaching and fitness, and the rest were based in financial services.
Ex-players who have just hung up their football shoes, tend to stay in the sports sector, while those who stopped playing a decade ago are more inclined to help non-profits and small companies. Of those who stopped playing two decades ago, more than 30% have their own business. Here are some previous top NFplayers who exchanged football for business.
Getting ahead of the retirement game, former Seattle Seahawks NFL player, Forsett showed great foresight by budgeting his money throughout his career. He knew that time on the field wasn’t guaranteed and that he needed some security to tide him over. Joining up with two other players, Wendell Hunter and Wale Forrester, he started up a business while still playing. ShowerPill is a hygiene company with the best-selling product being The Body Wipe, which removes sweat, dirt and germs.
The former defensive tackle for Los Angeles Rams has shown his business prowess by earning just under $150 million through deals with Nike and Subway. Where did Suh get this business acumen from? Firstly, he thanks his parents and then Joe Molgia, the previous CEO of TD Ameritrade. He also puts his money into real estate and investment partnerships, which he hopes will keep him on track.
One of the most successful quarterbacks, Manning has proved himself to be a success off the field too. Endorsing big brands such as Nike, Gatorade, and Papa John’s brought in many dollars for this Super Bowl-winner. The notable NFL player went all in with his business relationship with Papa John’s in 2012. He put his money and trust into 21 Papa John’s franchises in Denver, which brought his total restaurants with this brand to 30.
Warren Moon After retirement, this well-known quarterback founded the global Sports 1 Marketing agency with sports executive David Meltzer. As well as creating business opportunities for brands and partners, Moon also helps others with The Crescent Moon Foundation, which provides educational options for under-privileged who may not get the chance otherwise.
Merriman went from Pro Bowl NFL linebacker to setting up his own Lights Out fashion business. Lights Out focuses on workout apparel for males and females, and even features a ‘Shawne’s Favorites’ section on the website, which he is directly involved in.
Another Super Bowl champion and defensive great is Strahan. Through his work as a NFL Sunday pundit on Fox, the launch of a clothing brand, and even writing a book about achieving success, Stahan has shown his adaptability and that life can be great after playing in the field.
As NFL players have a limited professional career on the pitch, those who miss playing can still keep up to date and get involved in the football league with commentating, such as Troy Aikman, kicker of Dallas Cowboys, who went on to broadcasting with Fox; coaching, such as Dick Jauron, who went on to be back defensive coach at Philadelphia Eagles; or as writers like Bucky Brooks, working as a journalist and predicting the outcomes of games for NFL.com. Of course, previous players can still get involved by yelling at the telly with their friends. Some games to watch in Week 8 of the NFL are: the Browns at the Patriots on Oct 27th (where the Browns will be hoping to dent the Patriots’ credibility), the Lions versus the Giants and, on the same day, the 2nd place Bills versus the Eagles.